Manali girl becomes first woman taxi driver in Himachal Pradesh
With a dream to become an army officer, 20-year-old Manali girl Ravina Thakur, defying gender stereotypes, took up taxi driving to sustain her family’s livelihood, while also becoming the first women taxi driver in Himachal Pradesh.
Ravina obtained her commercial driving license this year, three years after she got trained. Her father, who too was a taxi driver and Ravina’s first driving trainer, died three years ago. After his death, the taxi was lying unused at their home.
“I want to join the army and after completing my graduation, will devote all efforts in it,” she said, adding, “Right now my family needs me and I am happy to support them.” Ravina lives with her mother and two younger siblings in Manali. “I am enjoying my job and right now, I have no other source to sustain our livelihood,” she said. The family originally hails from Jogindernagar.
Her mother Shanta Devi had a tea stall in Manali that was demolished in four-laning of national highways. “Our financial condition never weakened me and taking up taxi driving has only added to my personality and made me bolder and braver,” she said.
FACED RESISTANCE FROM RELATIVES
Ravina has a firm will power and did not give in to social pressures to take up the job. She faced resistance from locals and relatives. “People said many things when my father taught me how to drive. There was never a thought that it would become a source of our livelihood,” she said.
“People still taunt us but who cares! I have a family to look after and my dreams to fulfil. I don’t find anything wrong in being a taxi driver,” Ravina told HT, adding, “People’s comments won’t help my family earn a living.”
She further said, “My mother supports me in this decision even though many people tried to influence her against allowing me to drive a cab.” Her mother, Shanta Devi said, “I support my daughter’s decision. She learnt driving from her father. I am happy and will always stand by her dream.”